Top tipster Paul Ferguson looks at Glorious Goodwood and the rest of the action from the month of August
Paul Ferguson with his picks from Glorious Goodwood
HAVING supplemented her Newmarket and Irish 1,000 Guineas double in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot,WINTER is fancied to maintain her winning streak in the Qatar Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
Aidan O’Brien’s Galileo filly will be stepping up to beyond a mile for the first time on the first Saturday in August, but her style of racing suggests she really ought to relish the extra couple of furlongs. She was particularly impressive at Ascot last time and Roly Poly – runner-up to her there and at the Curragh in the Irish 1,000 Guineas – franked the form by winning the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting.
The improvement the grey has shown from April has been one of the highlights of the Flat season thus far and she can complete the Group 1 four-timer here.
Looking through the entries for dangers, John Gosden’s pair of Shutter Speed and So Mi Dar stand out. The former looked really good at Newbury and in the Musidora at York, while the latter has clearly had issues, given she has yet to reappear. It would be a tall order to win a race of this nature first time out.
Winter also holds an entry in the Sussex Stakes over a mile earlier in the week,but it seems unlikely that she will be asked to take on the colts at this stage and the race is probably best left to Godolphin.
Ribchester is their most likely representative and, while I remained unconvinced after his success in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, the fouryear-old won me over with his stylish victory in the Queen Anne.
It seems unlikely that the boys in blue would run both him and Barney Roy, who was a shade unlucky in the Coral-Eclipse, given how keen he had been in the early stages. He saw out the longer trip really well, but clearly still possesses the requisite pace to win at the top level over a mile. I suspect Richard Hannon’s three-year-old will wait for the Juddmonte International at York and, of course, he had Churchill in behind when reversing 2,000 Guineas form in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Churchill looks set to represent Aidan O’Brien, but the track at Goodwood seems to suit speedier types at this trip and the son of Galileo takes time to wind up in his races.Rather likeWinter,his running style hints that he could be even more effective over an extra couple of furlongs, despite also having completed the Newmarket-Irish Guineas double.
Earlier in the week, Ascot Gold Cup winner Big Orange will be popular in his bid to land a third straight Goodwood Cup. Clearly at home around this unique course, he would seem certain to run his race, but over this shorter trip and with Ryan Moore sure to ride him handier, I think Order Of St George can reverse the form.
Of course, he needs to prove he can handle the undulating track, but he shaped well at Navan earlier in the season and I fancy the five-year-old to gain his revenge.
It could be a really big week for the Ballydoyle operation and Highland Reel will bid to land a second successive King GeorgeVI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on the Saturday before Goodwood gets underway.
So far this season,he has won the Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, where he once again demonstrated his toughness
and versatility in terms of distance.Going back up to 1m4f is in his favour and I expect him to confirm recent form with Ulysses who has since won the CoralEclipse.
The most interesting entrant in the race is Epsom and Irish Oaks heroine Enable, but it seems unlikely – in the immediate aftermath of her impressive success at the Curragh – that she will be allowed to take her chance.John Gosden’s Nathaniel filly is likely to wait for the Yorkshire Oaks – where she will be very hard to beat – before possibly being geared up for a trip to France and the ‘Arc’ for which she is now generally second-favourite behind Almanzor.
UP TO YORK
At the time of writing, we have yet to see Almanzor this season and he was recently ruled out of the Juddmonte International at York (23rd). He finished last season on a high,with victories in the Irish Champion Stakes and Ascot’s Qipco Champion Stakes, having earlier won the Prix du Jockey Club. Spotted recently having a racecourse gallop at Clairefontaine, it would have taken a huge effort to win a race such as the International on his reappearance and it could be that he is being lined up for another trip to Leopardstown in September, en route to the ‘Arc’.
The Coral-Eclipse first and second head the betting for theYork contest and I would favour Barney Roy in the hope that he settles a little better and enjoys a clearer passage up the long home straight at York.
At double-figure odds, last year’s third Mutakayyef is probably the each-way call in the race, at this stage. As he did last year, William Haggas’ Sea The Stars sixyear-old won Ascot’s Group 2 Summer Mile en route to the Knavesmire – the one slight concern was that he did pull up lame after that race and had to be dismounted by Dane O’Neill. Hopefully it wasn’t anything serious and he can be aimed atYork.
Talking of each-way value at the Ebor meeting,I’m surprised that Crystal Ocean is as big as 20-1 (with Betway and 14s with Paddy Power – only four firms have priced this race up) following his third in the King Edward VII Stakes. He has 1¾-lengths to find with Permian, who of course earlier beat him here atYork in the Dante and has since run well in the Grand Prix de Paris, where he was a very game second.
Crystal Ocean looked rather inexperienced when asked to pick up in the Dante and was expected to relish the longer trip in the Ascot Group 2,where he was heavily supported at the head of the market. Things didn’t go right that day and I felt he was rushed up at the wrong time, sweeping wide on the home turn.My immediate reaction after that race was that he could well bid to provide Sir Michael Stoute with an eighth win in the race and that King Edward form looks like working out well, with Raheen House winning the Bahrain Trophy recently.
Crystal Ocean would meet Permian on 3lb better terms and can reverse the form; at the prices, he looks worth an investment at this stage. Sir Michael Stoute has another possible, in the shape of Mirage Dancer who would also warrant respect following an encouraging third over an inadequate trip in the Hampton Court Stakes.
Obviously, Crystal Ocean’s task will be much more difficult should John Gosden opt to saddle Cracksman following his third at Epsom and second in the Irish Derby. He had earlier beaten Permian in the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom – when doing well to get out of trouble – and the long straight at York should be to his liking. He was beaten by a neck last time, staying on strongly and he certainly sets the form standard if taking his chance,but with the race sponsors offering that 20-1, I’m happy to side with Crystal Ocean at this stage.
One last colt to touch on, in what could be a fascinating contest is Defoe who is
another that appears to have been overlooked in the betting (currently 33-1).
Admittedly, Roger Varian’s grey has only won handicaps on his last two starts, but he looks on a sharp upward curve and is now rated 104 so deserves a rise in grade. He holds an entry in the Listed Glasgow Stakes whilst this month’s magazine goes to press. Don’t underestimate him if being allowed to take his chance, although he could sneak in the 0-105 Melrose Stakes if connections wish to have a crack at one more valuable handicap – the 1m6f trip shouldn’t be an issue.
To round things off this month,I thought I would highlight a trio of horses that have caught my eye in recent weeks. Firstly, Rigoletto who has actually impressed me on all three starts. Luca Cumani’s Zoffany colt shaped with an abundance of promise on his racecourse debut at Newbury, before getting off the mark in taking fashion atYarmouth.
He followed that up with a smooth win on his handicap debut at Newmarket and a 6lb rise might not be beyond him. He holds an entry while this features goes to press, but should he skip that, take him seriously wherever he turns up next.
Project Bluebook was a smart juvenile hurdler last term and reverted to the Flat with an encouraging second at Catterick recently.Given the lack of support behind him,it is likely that the race will bring him on and,given his owner (JP McManus),he could well be bound for Galway.If he runs in the Galway Hurdle – no entries available at this stage – he might well be handicapped out of things, following his Grade 2 success at Fairyhouse back in April, but he will certainly be interesting when back on the level off his current mark. John Quinn’s four-year-old looks ahead of the assessor on the Flat, having finished second off just 80 last time.
Finally,York’s John Smith’s Cup was run at a dawdle and wouldn’t have suited those held up right out the back,of whichVictory Bond was one. Caught wide too – drawn badly – the way the race unfolded really would have helped the chances of William Haggas’ lightly-raced four-yearold,who travelled into the race well in the circumstances and still managed to finish seventh. Officially rated 102, the Medicean gelding is certainly worth following in similar valuable handicaps and it will not be a surprise if he were to win one before the season is out.
Order of St George